On a night when Travis Konecny got to play on Claude Giroux’s line with Brayden Schenn, the 19-year-old continued to make a case to make the Flyers.
The prized rookie forward scored a power-play goal in the Flyers' 4-3 overtime win over the Rangers, giving him four points in four exhibition games. No Flyer has more points.
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“They are just giving me a good opportunity and good looks,” Konecny said. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s an opportunity to play with good players and show them my offensive skills.”
The Flyers scored three goals in the opening four minutes of the second period to break a scoreless tie at the Wells Fargo Center. Leading 1-0, Rangers forward J.T. Miller high-sticked Jakub Voracek, resulting in a four-minute double minor with the Flyers already on a power play.
Voracek scored on the ensuing 5-on-3 advantage, and then Konecny got a rebound past Rangers goalie Mackenzie Skapski to make it 3-0. Konecny worked the low slot on the second power-play unit with Ivan Provorov at the point.
“When I start making plays with the puck and get more confidence on the wall and making moves, like I came into the middle in the third period, my confidence comes along,” Konecny said, adding that he is getting used to the pace of the NHL game.
“The speed of the game, getting used to making fast plays and thinking ahead of getting the puck and what you’re going to do with it. It takes time to learn that but I am adapting as I get these games in. … I’m soaking it all in right now and being a sponge.”
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said he was pleased.
“He played a pretty solid game,” Hakstol said. “There are some areas, little details, turnovers but overall, a solid game. He did a good job with that line.
“We’re looking for that complete game. You gather information every night. … Some areas of his game, like any young player, there’s immaturity. I thought he worked at a couple areas we asked him to clean up. His play along the wall.
“Those little areas that are real important as you go through the long haul of the season or playing the left side. I thought he adjusted pretty well the last couple of nights.”
This was Giroux’s first game back with the team since the World Cup of Hockey ended. Giroux had not played in 11 days.
“He’s aggressive, competes,” Giroux said of his Konecny. “He is not scared of going to the net. He wins a lot of battles. He is definitely fun to play with.”
Konecny admitted to having mixed feelings. On one hand, making it this deep into training camp buoyed his hopes of being on the final roster. On the other, if he gets sent back to junior this late, it’s devastating.
“Yeah, it’s both,” he said. “A heartbreaker or excitement. I’m trying not to think about it. I am still at the stage where I am nervous and excited every game.
“I’m trying to calm down and play and show my stuff. But it is definitely there in the back of my mind. I’ve gotten used to guys on the team.”
Hakstol wants to get his final roster down in the last two preseason games coming up, but it may take longer.
“I think you will see parts of it on Thursday (at the Rangers) and then from there, I don’t want to paint myself into a corner and say that Saturday (at the Bruins) is going to be our absolute roster,” Hakstol said.
“It will be close. That is what our goal is. We still have some things to figure out in terms of personnel and combinations. We’ve only got so much time to look at things and obviously, we’re running out of days.
“I think you’ll see a couple of things that are regular-season like on Thursday and, hopefully, Saturday more of that, but not absolute.”